What you need to know about Calgary's snow removal bylaws before the next blizzard

Brad Johnson, a community standards sergeant with the City of Calgary, chatted with CBC News to make sure Calgarians are aware of the bylaws around snow removal.

Sidewalks have to be clear 24 hours after it stops snowing

Significant snowfall is expected to hot Waterloo region and Wellington County, according to a weather statement from Environment Canada. Expect 15 centimetres or Thursday night into Friday morning. (CBC)

Calgary's last big snowfall was a few days ago, but in some neighbourhoods, pedestrians are forced to gingerly step over ice patches and piles of slush on their commute.

With more of the white stuff predicted to be on its way for this weekend, Brad Johnson, a community standards sergeant with the City of Calgary, chatted with CBC News to make sure Calgarians are aware of the bylaws around snow removal.

Cleared within 24 hours

Calgary property owners are responsible for clearing all of the snow and ice from the sidewalks in front of and adjacent to their home or business within 24 hours of the last snowfall.

"It has to be cleared down to bare pavement," Johnson said.

"Bare pavement is really important due to the fact that if anything's left on the pavement, it could turn into snow and ice and still create slippery conditions for individuals walking down the sidewalk."

Johnson said 311 gets a flurry of snow and ice complaints every winter.

Brad Johnson, a community standards sergeant with the City of Calgary, says it's important for residents to clear snow from sidewalks near their property as soon as possible. (CBC)

Bylaw officers will check on 311 complaints, and if there is snow or ice on the sidewalk, officers will leave a warning notice.

The officer will return after 24 hours to see if the sidewalk's been shoveled. If it's not done, the city sends in a contractor to make the sidewalk safe and walkable.

The charge is a minimum flat rate of $150, plus GST and an administration fee. If the invoice isn't paid, it's added to the property owner's yearly property tax bill.

The city is also responsible for clearing approximately 400 kilometres of the 850 kilometres of pathways around Calgary within 24 hours of a snowfall, and within 72 hours for sidewalks adjacent to parks. 

The city's website has a map identifying which sidewalks and pathways are cleared. Any paths that should be cleared but aren't can be reported to 311.

A map on the City of Calgary's website shows what pathways, sidewalks and bike lanes are cleared of snow. Coloured lines indicate snow-cleared routes. (City of Calgary/Google Maps)

For older folks or those with limited mobility who may have difficulty shoveling their walk, Calgary's Snow Angels program encourages neighbours to help each other out.

"A lot of things come into play over the holidays," Johnson said.

"Life gets pretty busy. We have to understand that, so we're there as a reminder."


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